Born in Fire Page 61


The fact that he was smiling as he came back toward her didn’t help her nerves. “Don’t you put your hands on me.”

“I’m about to. In fact, I’m about to do something I haven’t done in the twelve years I’ve worked in this office.”

Her heart began a fast hard tattoo in her throat. “You are not.”

So, he thought, he’d finally shocked her. He watched her gaze slide to the door, then made his grab. “You can rage at me once I’ve finished with you.”

“Finished with me?” Even as she took a swing at him he was crushing his mouth to hers. “Get off me, you ham-handed brute.”

“You like my hands.” And he used them to tug her sweater up. “You told me so.”

“That’s a lie. I won’t have this, Rogan.” But the denial ended in a moan as his lips skimmed hot over her throat. Then, “I’ll shout down the roof,” once she got her breath back.

“Go ahead.” He bit her, none too gently. “I like it when you shout.”

“Curse you,” she muttered, and went willingly when he lowered her to the floor.

It was fast and hot, a frantic coupling that was over almost as soon as it had begun. But the speed didn’t diminish the power. They lay tangled together a moment longer, limbs vibrating. Rogan turned his head to press a kiss to her jaw.

“Nice of you to drop by, Maggie.”

She summoned up the strength to bounce her fist off his shoulder. “Get off of me, you brute.” She would have shoved him, but he was already shifting, drawing her with him until she was straddled across his lap.


“Than what?” She grinned, then remembered she was furious with him. Pushing away, she sat on the rug and tidied her clothes. “You’ve a nerve, you do, Rogan Sweeney.”

“Because I dragged you to the floor?”

“No.” She snapped her jeans. “It’d be foolish to say that when it’s obvious I enjoyed it.”

“Very obvious.”

She sent him a steely look as he rose and offered her a hand.

“That’s neither here nor there. Who do you think you are, ordering me about, telling me what to do without a will you or a won’t you?”

He bent down and pulled her to her feet. “You’re here, aren’t you?”

“I’m here, you swine, to tell you that I won’t tolerate it. Here it’s been nearly a month since you walked away from my door whistling, and—”

“You missed me.”

She hissed at him. “I did not. I have more than enough to keep my time filled. Oh, straighten that silly tie. You look like a drunkard.”

He obliged her. “You missed me, Margaret Mary, though you never bothered to say so whenever I managed to reach you by phone.”

“I can’t talk on the phone. How am I supposed to say anything to someone I can’t see? And you’re evading the issue.”

“What is the issue?” He leaned back comfortably against his desk.

“I won’t be given orders. I’m not one of your servants or one of your staff, so get that through your head. Mark it down in that fancy leather notebook of yours if you need reminding. But don’t you ever tell me what to do again.” She let out a short, satisfied breath. “Now that I’ve made that clear, I’ll be on my way.”

“Maggie. If you’d no intention to stay, why did you pack a suitcase?”

He had her there. Patiently he waited while annoyance, dismay and confusion flitted across her face.

“Maybe I’ve a mind to stay in Dublin for a day or two. I can come and go as I please, can’t I?”

“Mmm. Did you bring your passport?”

She eyed him warily. “And what if I did?”

“Good.” He circled around his desk, sat. “It’ll save time. I thought you might have been stubborn and left it at home. It would have been a nuisance to go back and get it.” He leaned back, smiling. “Why don’t you sit down? Shall I ask Eileen to bring in some tea?”

“I don’t want to sit, and I don’t want tea.” Folding her arms, she turned away from him and stared hard at the Georgia O’Keeffe on the wall. “Why didn’t you come back?”

“There were a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been swamped here. I had several matters I wanted to clear up so I’d have a block of free time. Second, I wanted to stay away from you for a while.”

“Oh, did you?” She kept her eyes trained on the bold colors. “Did you now?”

“Because I didn’t want to admit how much I wanted to be with you.” He waited, shook his head. “No response to that, I see. No I-wanted-to-be-with-you-as-well?”

“I did. Not that I don’t have a life of my own. But there were odd moments when I would have liked your company.”

And he would, it seemed, have to settle for that. “You’re about to get it. Would you sit now, Maggie? There are some things we need to discuss.”

“All right, then.” She turned back, sat in front of his desk. He looked perfect there, she thought. Dignified, competent, in charge. Not at all like a man who would have indulged in a wild tussle on the office rug. The idea made her smile.


“I was just wondering what your secretary might be thinking out there.”

He lifted a brow. “I’m sure she assumes we’re having a civilized business discussion.”

“Hah! She looked like a sensible woman to me, but you go right on believing that.” Pleased by the way his eyes flickered to the door, she propped her ankle on her knee. “So, what business are we about to discuss?”

“Ah—your work over the last few weeks has been exceptional. As you know, we held back ten pieces from the first showing with the purpose of touring them over the next year. I would like to keep a few of your newest pieces in Dublin, but the rest is already on its way to Paris.”

“So your very efficient and very sensible Eileen told me.” She began to tap her fingers on her ankle. “You didn’t call me all the way to Dublin to tell me again—nor do I think you called me here for a spot of hot sex on the office rug.”

“No, I didn’t. I would have preferred discussing the plans with you over the phone, but you never bothered to return my calls.”

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